Alcohol abuse disorders among U.S. service members with mild traumatic brain injury

Kevin J Heltemes, Amber L Dougherty, Andrew J MacGregor, Michael R Galarneau
Military Medicine 2011, 176 (2): 147-50
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has emerged as a preeminent injury in Iraq and Afghanistan. The relationship between TBI and post-injury alcohol use in military personnel has not been clearly defined. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of alcohol abuse disorders among combat-injured service members with mild TBI (MTBI). Male U.S. service members with combat injuries were identified from the Expeditionary Medical Encounter Database (n = 3,123). Diagnoses of alcohol abuse disorders were collected from the standard inpatient and ambulatory data records. Overall, a slightly higher proportion of service members with MTBI were diagnosed with an alcohol abuse disorder compared to those with other injury (6.1% vs. 4.9%). In a multivariate analysis, however, it was found that MTBI was not associated with higher levels of alcohol abuse (odds ratio, 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 0.90, 1.70). To better define the consequences of MTBI, future research should include other alcohol dependency measures along with comorbid mental health disorders.

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